Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #303 Review

by Harlan Ivester on April 25, 2018

Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Penciler: Joe Quinones
Inkers: Joe Quinones, Joe Rivera, Paulo Rivera
Colorists: Jordan Gibson and Joe Quinones
Publisher: Marvel Comics
            Though I may have enjoyed the past couple issues of Spectacular Spider-Man, I have to wonder what happened to the selling point of this being another back to basics approach for the wall crawler. Preventing an alien invasion via time travel isn’t exactly part of his daily regimen, but then again, if it’s written well, what does it matter? I was excited to see if this issue could stick the landing. No spoilers.
            #303 promised us a confrontation with the Green Goblin after kidnapping young Peter and May, and it delivers well enough. I haven’t kept up with any solicitations for this book, so I’m unclear as to whether or not this was the conclusion of the Amazing Fantasy story, but everything is pretty wrapped up in a bow at this point. It’s got great call backs to iconic Spider-Man moments that remind me of the line from the Days of Future Past movie about throwing a stone in a river – maybe, no matter what you do in the past, some things are just meant to happen, one way or another. As we learned in the previous issue, Teresa is apparently Peter’s real sister. No offense to Mr. Zdarsky, but I have a hard time taking this revelation seriously. Not because there’s anything wrong with it, but because we’ve seen a lot of retcons like this that are forgotten as soon as the next writer comes along. I don’t mind the idea of Peter having more family, though. The set up for next issue will hopefully allow for a story more driven by character interactions, because I feel like this one could have used more of that. May has I think one line, and it’s nice, but it also kind of feels like her only real purpose in this story was to be kidnapped.
            Boy, do we have a lot of people on art. You’d think that it might become a too many cooks kind of deal, but it’s held together very coherently and it actually doesn’t look too different from previous issues since Joe Quinones and Jordan Gibson are still behind the wheel. Quinones’s faces can look just a little off, and May does seem to have a sloth hand at one point, but these are nitpicks. Anatomy is mostly pretty realistically illustrated. Being such an action heavy issue, I wish he would play with the field of depth to give the movement more dynamics. He does fit in better at the slower moments since faces and poses are so strongly pronounced. He and Gibson do the best work on colors by keeping the creepy air the Norman Osborn brings into a room from last issue. The night sky looming over the climax of the story makes you certain that things aren’t going to end well for somebody, and sudden reds and blacks show strong impact and force.
            Amazing Fantasy has shaped up to be a fun couple issues, but I don’t think the arc has brought enough to the table to be truly memorable. Zdarksy does land solid dialogue throughout, but I wish there had been a little more of it. The artists exceed in highlighting danger and dread in a given situation, but the rest of it doesn’t exactly wow me. Pick the issue up if you’ve liked the story so far.

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